×

‘The Americans’ Cast and Producers Brace for Emotional Final Season

Paige Jennings was destined to go into the family business, “The Americans” showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields told reporters Friday as cast members and producers of the beloved FX drama discussed plans for the show’s sixth and final season, which bows March 28.

Weisberg and Fields said they have been planning for some time for Paige (played by Holly Taylor) to follow her mother into the Soviet spy ranks for some time. Her younger brother Henry (played by Keidrich Sellati), however, is another story.

“From the beginning, Paige sort of had her mother’s Russian soul and that was going to work throughout the series and create a certain darkness inside her,” Weisberg, creator of the 1980s-set series starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as covert Soviet spies in Washington, D.C. “But you could feel from the beginning that Henry did not get even the part of his father that had a Russian soul. He got sort of his father’s American side, and even though he probably, like Paige, had deep down some sense that something was wrong, he just didn’t seem affected by it from the very beginning. He seemed like the one true American kid from the beginning.”

Taylor said she’d hoped Paige would show the same backbone as her mother and become a covert operative. But she also dismissed it as “a far-fetched hope” until the storyline started to come to fruition in Season 3. Taylor hailed the show for its nuanced portrayal of female and male characters.

“I feel it doesn’t get talked about enough, that kind of stereotypical gender reversal. It’s like we have such a strong female protagonist who is so gung-ho about her cause and so passionate about it, and then the male character who is so much more sensitive, but it’s not portrayed in any kind of negative light,” Taylor said. “That’s just how they are, and it works for their family. But they also still can get their job done. I think that’s amazing.”

Russell is still too engaged in the hard work of being Elizabeth Jennings to reflect much on the legacy of the FX drama series. It’s not a cushy job at this time of year, she observed. FX had to charter a private plane for “The Americans” team and other network talent to make it to TCA after the Bomb Cyclone snowstorm crippled air travel out of the East Coast.

“We shoot in the dead of winter in New York, and it’s such an uphill sprint in a great way. I think that type of work lends itself to the show and the cold and the struggle of it all,” Russell said. “I feel like heads are still down charging up that hill. There’s not a lot of time for reflection yet. It’s kind of just about getting through these last few months. We really only have two months left, but I will say, because we’ve sort of read a lot of the scripts now, that it feels really good and satisfying what Joe and Joel have created.”

Among other highlights from the session:

Weisberg and Fields said they have known the broad arc of the series ending for some time, but they are still fine-tuning the final script. “We won’t be done writing it until we land on the very last frame that we lock of the final episode,” Fields said.

Taylor pointed out a tantalizing mystery from the show’s standing kitchen set. “In the Jennings’ kitchen, there are two dogs on the fridge, and none of us know where that dog came from,” she said.

Rhys made reference to fact that the show has changed his life by bringing him together, off screen, with Russell. Russell had her first child, a boy, with Rhys last year. “I reflect on it every morning when he wakes us up at 5 a.m., and I say, ‘How did you happen?’ ” Rhys said.

(Pictured: Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields, Keri Russell)

More TV

  • Drew Goddard

    Oscar-Nominated Drew Goddard Inks Exclusive Overall Deal with 20th Century Fox TV

    Writer, director and producer Drew Goddard has signed an exclusive, multiyear overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, under which he will write, create, direct and develop new TV series for the studio across all platforms. Goddard’s deal, announced by Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden, is the first to close since [...]

  • AVOD streaming video OTT users -

    Comcast Unveils 'Flex,' a Streaming Service for Internet Customers

    Comcast said it would unveil “Flex,” a hub for its Internet-only customers that allows them to stream and purchase shows and movies, the latest effort by a traditional cable provider to latch on to customers who are migrating to broadband services, The Philadelphia cable giant will also make free, ad-supported services available via the service, [...]

  • Imagine, Zero Point Zero Produce Doc

    Imagine, Zero Point Zero to Produce Doc on Teen Skateboard Star Brighton Zeuner (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fourteen-year-old skateboarding star and two-time world champ Brighton Zeuner will be the focus of a feature documentary by Imagine Documentaries and Zero Point Zero, Variety has learned exclusively. Described as a coming-of-age story, the film will document Zeuner’s childhood, personal and professional relationships, and road to earning a spot as a member of the 2020 [...]

  • Smithsonian Handmaids Tale Costume

    Why the Smithsonian Chose to Enshrine 'Handmaid's Tale' Servant Costume

    The iconic red-caped, white-bonneted outfits worn by Elisabeth Moss and the other childbearing servants in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” created by costume designer Ane Crabtree, have become that show’s signature visual.  Hulu immediately knew it had a good thing, hiring groups of women around the country to parade in the garments to promote the show. [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content